10 Terms You Need To Know The Meaning Of Before Buying A Projector


The Projection world can be confusing. Most manufacturers assume a certain degree of knowledge on the part of buyers. In many cases buyers know lots of stuff, but some people just aren’t tech savvy. So product descriptions can seem like a maze of foreign words that are impossible to decipher. Even words and terms buyers think they understand are sometimes more complicated than first appears. But i’m going to explain it all here, so don’t worry. If the world of projection seems to posses a foreign language to you, then I’m going to teach you the basics. Before you know it you’ll be conversing fully. More importantly you’ll be able to look at a product description and know right away whether a specific Projector is the one for you.

1. 3D Ready

The most vague term in all of projection. Many people think it means they can hook up their Blu-Ray Player or TV Box and immediately get 3D images. This is almost never the case. 3D Ready actually means that if you buy something extra then you can watch 3D images. And that something extra is usually a 3D Transmitter, but it could be 3D Glasses. So whenever you see the term 3D Ready, you have to ask the manufacturer what else you need to get 3D. One more thing. The golden rule is 3D can never be, without 1080p. Remember that, because sometimes you see the term 3D Ready on 720p Projectors. You could buy all the Glasses and Transmitters in the world but you will never get 3D on a 720p Projector because 3D is 1080p in each eye.

2. Full 3D

This means you don’t need anything else to be able to view 3D. You’re able to view 3D straight away

3. HDMI 1.4a

There’s more than one type of 3D. Believe it or not, 3D Games use a different type of 3D production than 3D TV shows from a set top box. Your Blu-Ray Player uses yet another form of 3D production. There’s Frame Sequential 3D, Broadcast 3D, Frame Packing 3D and many more. I’m not going to hurt your heads by talking endlessly about these because they’re not important. What’s important is that wherever you see this term HDMI 1.4a, it means the Projector in question can receive all formats of 3D. So you’re completely covered.

4. Contrast Ratio

Do you like Dark Movies like Gangster Movies? Do you need to give presentations? Do you play games that involve reading text? Then Contrast Ratio is important to you. Basically it’s the ratio between black and white. The higher the ratio is better you’ll be able to see blacks and whites on screen. Dark scenes are particularly good with a high Contrast Ratio which is why Movie Theaters use Projectors that have high Contrast Ratio’s. There’s a hidden bonus though. As well as allowing you to display intricate image detail a high Contrast Ratio will also allow your Projector to fend off light better. So it’ll be better in rooms with ambient light and outside in the moonlight.

5. Throw Distance

This is how far back you need to place your Projector before you’ll get a decent sized image. A good throw Distance is 60 inches at 5 feet back. Those with smaller rooms need to pay particular attention to Throw Distance

6. Lumen

This is a measure of light. It’s usually split into two category’s: white brightness and color brightness. Unfortunately despite there always being a discrepancy between white and color brightness, product descriptions always list the two measures of brightness as equal. Anyway, what you need to know is that the more Lumens you have the less dark it needs to be for you to watch HD and 3D images.

6. Resolution

Your images are actually made up of tiny dots. Ton’s of them. Resolution is the number of dots on the screen and the dots are called Pixels. Full HD for example is 1920×1080 Pixels. The letter P you often see after the 1080 stands for Progressive Scan.

7. DLP

DLP Projectors use chips that are full of tiny mirrors to reflect light onto your screen or wall. They use either one or three chips. Three chip DLP Projectors cost more but produce less distortions due to the workload being spread out over 3 separate groups of mirrors. DLP stands for Digital Light Processing.

8. 3LCD

Becoming increasingly popular, 3LCD Projectors use three Panels that are full of Liquid Crystals to split light into three primary colors: Red. Yellow and Green. They then pass them through a filter made up of mirrors, which create the image. Each Liquid Crystal represents a Pixel and the color of each pixel is changed to correctly display the image in all it’s intricacy.

9. LED

LED Projectors have large groups of Red, Green and Blue LED’s ((Light Emitting Diodes) These mix together to produce images like an artist would mix his colors before applying them to the page.

10. Aspect Ratio

The common definition is that it’s the ratio of width and height of a image, but it’s more important than that. People change their Aspect Ratio and then can’t work out why the picture isn’t as good. This is because the Aspect Ratio must at all times match up with the resolution to get the best results. So 16:9 Aspect Ratio is the one you must use for a 1920x1080p Native Resolution because 1080 is nine sixteenths of 1920.


I hope this list has been helpful and I hope I’ve helped explain words and terms to you in a more concise way than is common on the internet. When you’re buying a Projector or when you’re reading a review of one, you can go back to this list and refer to it to make sure you get the best Projector for your needs. Thank you for reading.

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt from Texas has been the best-selling author in 2014. He was the most appreciated writer in 2015. Different organizations have honored him with different awards and memberships as well. He is a tech shop owner and completed graduation in Electrical Engineering.

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